McConnell Looking Forward to Contested Convention

Majority Leader is 'increasingly optimistic' of a second ballot in Cleveland

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declined to speak specifically about any presidential candidate. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declined to speak specifically about any presidential candidate. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Posted April 18, 2016 at 4:55pm

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says it is up to the Republican National Convention delegates whether anyone currently running for president becomes his party’s nominee.  

And for McConnell, who is continuing to decline to speak specifically about any presidential candidate, a contested convention sounds like an appealing scenario.  

“I’m increasingly optimistic that there may actually be a second ballot,” the Kentucky Republican said.  

But he’s insisting there’s no trickery or backroom dealing going on. McConnell would know, as he told a Louisville TV station, because he would more than likely be in that backroom.  

“This notion that there’s some group of people in Washington that can hand pick somebody and deliver it is not true,” McConnell told WHAS-TV . “If there were such a group, I would probably be a part of it, but there isn’t a group.”  

“There are some candidates suggesting it is somehow tricky to simply follow the rules of the convention. We’re going to follow the rules of the convention. When a nominee gets to 1,237, he will actually be the candidate. If he doesn’t, there will be a second ballot,” he said.  

McConnell has previously said that he may himself be a delegate to the convention in Cleveland this July, though he has had no interest in seeking appointment to the panel that will determine the rules .  

“Most of us who have looked at this closely, and there’s some in the press who have analyzed the various state laws, 60 percent of the delegates who are bound on the first ballot will not be bound on the second,” he said. “Eighty percent of the delegates who are bound on the first and second ballot will not be bound on the third, so it really will be up to the delegates.”  

McConnell continues to avoid answering questions about the candidates themselves, including whether Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, should offer an apology for taking to the Senate floor and accusing the leader of lying .

Contact Lesniewski at nielslesniewski@cqrollcall.com and follow him on Twitter @nielslesniewski.


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